Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gaining Wisdom

Guest blogging for me today is author Jillian Kent! Please join me in welcoming her....

Jill's newest book comes out this May!

Gaining Wisdom

I started writing seriously about twelve years ago. I made the decision to become a writer after my first daughter was born in 1989. I'm not quite sure why having a baby made me think about becoming a writer. Maybe it was a way of recreating myself. I vaguely remember saying that maybe I'd be published by the time both kids went to college. That worked!

No one is in college yet. Maybe it was because in the back of my mind I really wanted to write and having my first child at the age of 35 made me think I was running out of time and I'd better decide what I want to be when I grow up. I'm not really sure why I chose that time to make my decision. I'd been a social worker for ten years by then and love that aspect of my life, but I wanted more.

I wanted to write.

I faced many blank pages and didn't really know where to start. I joined RWA, eventually joined ACFW, attended many writer's conferences from one side of the country to the other and studied the craft until I thought I had some idea of what I was doing. Of course most of us who write know the best way to learn is to do it, just do it.

I wrote a lot of words that didn't make great stories for awhile, but I did eventually learn. James Scott Bell is a firm believer that writers aren't necessarily born... we can all learn how to do it. I think the main ingredient must be a mountain load of passion and a mustard seed of talent. Hey, if I can do it I know you can do it. Really!

I have more craft books than you can imagine but two of my favorites are:

 1) SteinOn Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of OurCentury Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein   

 and 2) WriteGreat Fiction - Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

You need to invest in your future writing career just like you would in any other career; this is how we gain wisdom. I spent years in college getting a Master's Degree in Social Work. I went to class, paid for those classes, completed internships, did a lot of writing. I can honestly say I spent more time learning the craft and business of writing, which never really ends, as I did getting my social work degree.

Of course even with all that work there is never a guarantee of publication. But in today's economy unfortunately even with a college education there is no guarantee of getting the job you studied for in college, at least not right away. Hopefully, that will improve soon.

Your turn: What have you done to gain wisdom? How have you invested in yourself? What's the number one investment strategy you would recommend? What has worked best for you in whatever career you have chosen to follow?

You can find me at www.jilliankent.com

Click http://jilliankent.com/books.html to read the first chapters of my novels and view the trailer from Secrets of the Heart.

Thank you so much, Jill, for sharing your story, all your encouragement, and for guest blogging today! 

Be sure to look for Jill's newest release coming out this May!


  1. I invest in myself and my career by attending writers conferences. I learn so much when I hang out with other writers--plus I have a great time.

    1. Me too, Keli! I have attended two so far and gleaned so much from experienced writers. Looking forward to the ACFW conference this fall! Can't wait!

      Thanks for visiting!

  2. Good Morning Ruth!
    Thanks for having me guest blog. Hi Keli! I couldn't agree more about the conferences. I've already told myself I wasn't going to ACFW this year because the finances are stretched. Our house needs to be sided and it's going to cost a lot! So I'm leaving it in God's hands, but when the time comes I know I'll be bummed out if I'm not there. I've been blessed to attend many times and next year it's in Indianapolis and only 2 hours away, so I plan to see you all there if possible.

    1. Thank you! I enjoyed reading about your experience. I majored in Visual Art (BA) and Education/Curriculum/Instruction (M.Ed)so I never put much weight on having a writing career. I just gave it a try...and now it's happening little by little.

      But one thing has always been true for me: I love to learn! So, learning to write has been fun for me.

      Thanks, again, Jillian, for guest blogging!

    2. I like that you said you love to learn. I don't know why I love learning about writing with almost an obsessive kind of interest. I love trying to make a sentence sparkle, and a paragraph pop. I hope that never changes.

      By the by, Ruth, I really like the way your blog. The problem these days is getting around to read so many great ones. Yours shines. Thanks for having me visit. It's been my pleasure.

  3. Loved your thoughts here, Jillian!

    I've got degrees in journalism and English, so I've studied writing and editing. But novel writing is different, so I'm reading numerous blogs, attending conferences, reading craft books, and entering contests for feedback. I'm willing to learn, and I'm hoping that openness pays off.

    Can't wait to attend ACFW with you, Ruth! :D

    1. Me too, Lindsay! We're going to meet more incredible writers and learn so much more about the business!! It'll be a blast!

      Thanks for visiting!

  4. Hey there, Lindsay,
    You are on the write :) path. I went to college to major in journalism, and ended up being a sociology major, and then social work. I'm not sorry it worked out that way, but it's taken me forever to learn how to write. Having a weird and over-active imagination helps! If you haven't visited my agents blog, I encourage you to do so. http://www.rachellegardner.com/
    Blessings as you explore and grow with the rest of us!

  5. I love both those books, Jillian! I actually just urged myself to write to James Scott Bell, thanking him for P&S--and he's a lovely man and actually wrote back.

    I relate to much of what you wrote, especially the social work background (mine is in psych). Congrats on your upcoming release!